5 things to STOP BUYING now and up your sustainability game!

Tips for reducing consumption in the kitchen

By Jamie Bondoc March 28, 2024

Sustainability can mean many things for different people, and for many it means absolutely nothing! According to the UN, sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” For me, living a ‘sustainable’ lifestyle means doing my best to educate myself about how the consumption of resources affects people and communities and using that knowledge to make thoughtful changes in my consumption so that it doesn’t impact others’ quality of life in a negative way. Well, since becoming a mom "meeting the needs of the present" looks MUCH different than when I was single. And yet, I see ‘future generations’ so very differently now that I know and love so dearly the young people that fall into that group. I’ve had to radically shift my approach because, more than ever, I want to protect the environment they’ll inhabit, but I also need to feed them in the present. It’s a lot to ponder - more than my mom-brain can handle in this day and age.

At this point in my sustainability journey, I feel that simply reducing our consumption is the best and easiest way to reduce our carbon footprint. Of course, many times it’s necessary to buy new things, single-use items included, even if it’s just to keep our sanity!! There will always be challenges when the ideal meets the real, but here are a few things to think about trying, now or in the future, that could reduce your negative impact on the environment and make "momming" a little more sustainable!

Plastic wrap/foil

In my opinion, Snapware and silicone bags are amazing and totally worth the investment. I’m personally not a fan of beeswax wrap, but it might work for you! All of these things can be purchased to reduce waste and save you a ton of money in the long run. However, you don’t need to go out and buy them. Old jars and tubs of yogurt or ricotta cheese and the like are perfectly acceptable containers for storing leftovers. Reuse them again and again! If you're crafty, DIY some fabric dish covers following this tutorial! Another way I love to store leftovers is by putting a handy, dandy plate over the bowl I was eating my food in. This manner is obviously not airtight and is not the best for space saving, but it does the trick. This also saves me the time of transferring the food and eliminates one more dish to wash!! 🥳

Paper towels 

Use old rags that can be washed and reused instead! Have outgrown or stained clothes that aren’t acceptable for donation? Cut them up into squares! These can be stored in a bin under the sink, ready to mop up any ol’ mess. If you've wiped up any solids, shake them over the garbage or rinse them in the sink after use. Keep another bin just for soiled cloths in the laundry room. Once it’s full, run a load on hot with them by themselves. *Be aware of kitchen oil and other flammables going into the wash - it's best to throw those cloths in the garbage.

Garbage bags

I’ll admit, this takes some getting used to. Eliminating these is not for the faint of heart! If you’re not lining garbage bins with anything, you'll likely have to wash your garbage bins on occasion. This can be messy and at times pretty gross. Save bags that food comes in (bread, tortillas, rice, cereal, etc) and use those for super-messy things so that bins stay a little bit cleaner for longer. They can be stored in another bin under the sink. 


Traditional sponges are the ultimate breeding ground for bacteria. Use brushes, wash cloths or washable sponges instead! Be sure to wring wash cloths out to dry between use, and throw them in the wash after 3-4 uses. 

Stuff to organize your stuff

Social media tempts us to think that everything must be chic and monotone to be clean and orderly. I’ll admit I LOVE the look, but we don’t need the matching bins! We have enough boxes around the house to use in drawers, pantries and cupboards to separate vegetables from snacks and wash cloths from bags.

At the end of the day, what works for one mom won't always work for another. However, starting conversations and sharing tips and tricks are a great start to growing a culture of sustainability.

Looking for more tips on how to live a sustainable lifestyle? Check out Sacramento's Earth Day Celebration on April 21, 2024 - a free, family-friendly event, with opportunities to learn and network about sustainability. There will be 150 exhibitors and vendors, and hundreds of attendees.